San Francisco Travel's Wish List of Holiday Lights, Sights and Decorations

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Reasons to visit San Francisco in December are as numerous as ornaments on the massive holiday trees at Union Square, PIER 39, Ghirardelli Square or the many others throughout the city.

The holidays glow in San Francisco

Festivities are as diverse as the city itself, from classical entertainment like “A Christmas Carol” and Handel’s “Messiah” to unique pleasures like “Drag Queens on Ice,” “Dance Along Nutcracker” and “Kung Pao Kosher Comedy.”

Reasons to visit San Francisco in December are as numerous as ornaments on the massive holiday trees at Union Square, PIER 39, Ghirardelli Square or the many others throughout the city. San Francisco Travel advises revelers to spend an extra day to take in all of the music, dance, comedy, cabaret, ice skating, and an abundance of beautiful lights.

San Francisco hotels have their best availability and rates during the holiday season. San Francisco Travel can help travelers find the perfect getaway headquarters at

Here are some events and activities to make the season bright. An expanded version of this list is available at

Illuminate SF Festival of Light
Through New Year’s Day

“Harry Potter and The Cursed Child”
Through June 20, 2020. (No performances Dec. 25)
The Curran Theater

“Amaluna” by Cirque Du Soleil
Through Jan. 12, 2019
Under the Big Top at Oracle Park    

Holiday Ice Rink at Embarcadero Center
Through Jan. 5, 2020
Embarcadero Plaza

The Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square
Through Jan. 20, 2020

“The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told” at the EXIT Theatre
Through Dec. 14, 2019.

San Francisco Opera presents “Hansel And Gretel”
Through Dec. 7, 2019.

Creativity Explored Holiday Art Shop
Through Dec. 31, 2019.

“Curious Contraptions: Flights of Fancy” at the Exploratorium
Through Jan. 26, 2020.

Macy's Union Square And San Francisco SPCA Holiday Windows
Through Jan. 1, 2020.

“Night Bloom” at the Conservatory of Flowers
Through Jan. 5, 2020.

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party
Through Dec. 22, 2019.

PIER 39 Lights Up the Season with a Nightly Tree Lighting Show
Through Jan. 5, 2020.

Sugar Castles, Sweet Boutique and More at Westin St. Francis
Through Jan. 2, 2020.

Lucky Tuk Tuk Holiday Lights and Sites Tour
Through Dec. 30, 2019.

Classic Cable Car Holiday Nights & Sights City Tour
Through Dec. 30, 2019.

San Francisco Love Tours Holiday Lights Tour
Through Dec. 30, 2019.

ODC/Dance Presents “The Velveteen Rabbit”
Through Dec. 8, 2019.

Fairmont San Francisco Presents its Largest-Ever Giant Gingerbread House
Nov. 30, 2019.

The Winter Park at Civic Center Plaza
Through Jan. 6, 2020.

“Construction Site on Christmas Night” by Bay Area Children’s Theatre
Through Dec. 29, 2019.

The Walt Disney Family Museum Double Feature
Dec. 2-30, 2019.

“It’s A Wonderful Life” – Feature Film with the San Francisco Symphony
Dec. 3 and 6, 2019.

“A John Waters Christmas”
Dec. 4, 2019.

After Dark: Glow at the Exploratorium
Dec. 5, 2019.

San Francisco Choral Society performs Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio”
Dec. 6 and 7, 2019.

WILD 94.9 Presents Jingle Ball 2019
Dec. 8, 2019.

A Merry-Achi Christmas at Davis Symphony Hall
Dec. 9, 2019.

Holiday Soul with India.Arie and The San Francisco Symphony
Dec. 10 and 11, 2019.

75th Anniversary of San Francisco Ballet’s “Nutcracker”                                                                                                    
Dec. 11-29, 2019.

Handel’s “Messiah” with the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus
Dec. 13 and 14, 2019.

“Peter and The Wolf “with the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra
Dec. 15, 2019.

Annual Hanukkah Menorah Lighting in The Castro
Dec. 18, 2019.,

“A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Live with the San Francisco Symphony
Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco
Dec. 21 and 22, 2019..

Pop-Up Glowing Hanukkah Party at Ghirardelli Square
Dec. 22, 201.

“A Christmas Carol” at American Conservatory Theater
Through Dec. 24, 2019.

“I Touch My Elf” at Feinstein’s at the Nikko
Dec. 2, 2019.

Drag Queens on Ice at the Safeway Holiday Ice Rink
Dec. 5 and 6, 2019.

“Kaleidoscope” at the Exploratorium
Dec. 6, 2019 - Jan. 20, 2020.

“Michael Feinstein - Home for The Holidays”
Dec. 5–8, 2019.

Holiday Lights: The Presidio’s Annual Tree-Lighting Ceremony
Dec. 6, 2019.

“Holidays Are Here: Ring Them Bells” with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus
Dec. 6-7, 2019.

SantaCon 2019
Dec. 7, 2019.

2019 Dance-Along Nutcracker: Nutcrackers in Space
Dec. 7-8, 2019.

Christmas at Grace Cathedral
Dec. 14-23, 2019.

Light the Menorah at Ghirardelli Square
Dec. 9, 2019.

“Love Actually” Feature Film with the San Francisco Symphony
Dec. 17 and 18, 2019.

Smuin Contemporary Ballet presents The Christmas Ballet
Dec. 12–23, 2019.

Holiday Brass at The San Francisco Symphony
Dec. 16, 2019.

Kim Nalley - “A December to Remember” and “Gospel Christmas 2019”
Dec. 14-15, 2019.

Dec. 14, 2019.

The 27th Anniversary of Kung Pao Kosher Comedy
Dec. 24-26, 2019.

San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus Presents “Holigays Are Here”
Dec. 24, 2019.

The Contemporary Jewish Museum's Annual Community Day
Dec. 25, 2019.

13th Kwanzaa Celebration, Umoja (Unity)
Dec. 26, 2019-Jan. 1, 2020..

The San Francisco Travel Association is the official destination marketing organization for the City and County of San Francisco. For information on reservations, activities and more, visit or call 415-391-2000.

For more about San Francisco, follow, and Please use hashtags #sftravel and #AlwaysSF.

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Laurie Gossy
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